OMAHA — Moments after defeating Nebraska 9-1 in five innings, the Creighton softball team broke into some dancing in the postgame team huddle Tuesday evening at the Creighton Sports Complex.
The Bluejays were in a mood to keep the groove going.
Behind four home runs over the first two innings, Creighton snapped a six-game losing streak and kept Nebraska’s slump going. The Bluejays also snapped a six-game skid against the Huskers that dated to 2012.
Both teams were in dire need of a confidence-building win, and it was the Bluejays coming out locked in from the start.
“I was just really impressed with our focus,” Creighton coach Brent Vigness said. “We’ve lost a lot of close games and we’ve been able to score some runs and we haven’t been able to shut the other team down for seven innings.
“The last thing we’re going to do is take our foot off the gas. It was more about keeping them in the game mentally.”
Ashley Cantu opened the bottom of the first with a homer and Kiara Mills, two batters later, muscled a two-run shot over the right-field wall. Mikaela Pechar added a two-run homer to straightaway center.
Just like that, Creighton (12-17) was up 5-1 after one.
“When we’re down 1-0 and our leadoff hitter ties it up (with) one swing, it takes the pressure off,” Vigness said. “If we go three up and three down in that first inning, that one run feels bigger than that.”
The Bluejays didn’t take the foot off the gas. Kelli Finan hit a no-doubter over the left-field wall in the second, and the Bluejays, who finished with 10 hits, scored in every inning.
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It was a rough night for Husker pitchers. Freshman Lindsey Walljasper (7-9) didn’t make it out of the first inning, and the Jays made freshman Courtney Wallace work for two-plus innings.
“Both Lindsey and Courtney, they just had a lot of trouble locating tonight, and then Creighton just started digging in and they were swinging at everything,” Nebraska coach Rhonda Revelle said.
Senior Laura Roecker notched the win. The Elkhorn graduate and Omaha transfer limited NU to four hits in a complete-game effort, and got out of some jams.
“I was definitely was more relaxed, but (five runs in the first inning) it’s not enough these days,” said Roecker, who improved to 5-8. "You need to score every single inning, so I was relaxed but I was still focused out there to get every out.”
Said Vigness, “I told our team, there was no way (Roecker) was going to lose that game tonight. You could see that focus and that determination in her eyes.”
Nebraska struck first on Wallace’s RBI double down the right-field line in the first inning, and though the Huskers didn’t score any more runs, they made strong contact early in the game. Two balls were hit to the warning track.
“If we could have contained them, I thought this was going to be a 4-5 game with the way the contact was coming out early,” Revelle said. “Then we had at-thems and they had balls that went over.”
Nebraska (13-23) has now lost 16 of 19 games, and has been outscored 29-3 in its past four games. This marked NU’s worst loss to Creighton since 2008 (13-1).
Wallace and Alyvia Simmons each had two hits to lead the NU offense.